How many times have you had a conversation with someone where the words “I don’t enjoy my job” (or something similar) have come out of your mouth? If this is the case, you’re on the same side as almost one billion full-time workers. According to a global poll only 15% of them are engaged at work. As in stimulated. As in digging what they’re doing. Those numbers are low friends, frighteningly low.
So why don’t we all pack it up, throw our picture frame and desk fern into a box and find something else to do? Well, financial instability and risk come into play, as does general fear of the new and what’s termed ‘golden handcuffs’ which means your benefits, retirement package, medical aid etc are so good that you’ll endure work unhappiness just to keep them… And since all these reasons exist – and they’re real for a lot of people – we’d like to advocate for an alternative.
Don’t leave the job you don’t enjoy. Find joy in the job you have. This feels like what you’d find inside a fortune cookie but read on and we’ll use some research to back up this fortune-cookie claim.
Find more joy at work by taking a break – a real one – and then getting back into the swing of it
This might seem nonsensical. How does cracking on with a work project AFTER having the best mani-pedi-massage combo of your life (which is the work break of dreams) make any sense? Surely this would make you loathe your job?
But approaching work knowing you’re going to take a break, that you’re not going to skimp on that much-needed ‘work pause’ can not only improve your mood from the outset (imagine approaching Monday knowing you’re breaking to enjoy the delicious ooze of a toasted sarmie), but taking time out can also lead to enhanced reasoning and provide new solutions to various challenges. The knock-on effect may even be that you kick that challenge in the butt and it improves your job incrementally or even overall. The idea of the deliberate work pause comes from author Rachael O’Meara in her book Pause: Harnessing the Life-Changing Power of Giving Yourself a Break. If your job is joyless, give this baby a read.
It’s controversial, but doing more in your job can actually bring joy
Even we were indignant when we read this headline. Do more? At a job I already don’t enjoy? That’s a no from me. But the catch is we’re not advocating you do more of the same at your job. We’re advocating you do more of something different.
Volunteering has a bad reputation. It gives the impression of early Saturday mornings in cold temperatures and being on your feet all day. But this is work-related volunteering, something quite different, and it’s all about putting your name down for things that match your skills and interests (and are often completely unrelated to what you currently do). The result? It can make work more meaningful and invigorating, and can positively contribute to your year-end score card, KPIs, and whatever else HR uses.
Okay, so this may overlap with your current job description in some respects but trust us, mentoring someone is the best way to find renewed purpose and to flex those possibly long-dormant leadership skills. A core issue with modern-day workplaces and how jobs are specced comes down to a sad reality outlined by author Dennis Bakke in his book Joy at Work: “We have made the workplace a frustrating and joyless place where people do what they’re told and have few ways to participate in decisions or fully use their talents.” Your job is your job is your job. Often companies don’t allow you to change lanes, switch it up or are even aware of the other talents you possess (like the ability to mentor). It’s time they knew. Speak up loud and proud and find the joy again.
Find the fun even if it takes a little leg work. This might seem impossible, especially if your corporate culture actually admonishes things like laughing and chatting informally. Dr Paul McGhee, a renowned humour researcher, has seen this first-hand in a memo sent by a company president after hearing staff laughing: “Henceforth, there will be no laughter or smiling allowed in this building during working hours. Laughing distracts fellow employees. And if you’re smiling, you’re not thinking about your work.” Now we know this is total drivel, but scarily many bosses don’t.
So if this is what you’re faced with then it’s time to innovate and introduce fun into your regular breaks (see bullet one) and start a person-by-person fun rebellion in the workplace. We’re not suggesting a total coup, but more a ‘let’s do things together as colleagues that are fun’ approach. Not only does this expand the pool of fun ideas but it also boosts your feeling of connectedness with fellow staffers which in turn adds more joy to the day to day. It’s also important to know that even if you’re efforting to make you job more fun by yourself, research suggests you will actually have more fun regardless. The effort alone will start doing the trick.
If your boss is not like the tyrant quoted above them suggesting fun activities is your next port of call backed up, of course, by a little research. Having fun at work positively affects job performance overall, task performance as well as creative performance on top of improving work engagement and productivity. If those aren’t good reasons to let the fun flag fly, we don’t know what are.
Refresh where you work and let the joy in
We’re not just saying this because we offer functional, affordable, good looking office spaces in Cape Town and Joburg (which we do), but we’re also saying it because (legitimately) reviving and refreshing where you work can make you feel more fulfilled in your job. This can be as simple as sprucing up the décor a little, to packing it all up and moving somewhere completely new. Where the coffee is grand, no wall colour bland and IT is always on stand…by. That place is Office & Co. in case you didn’t know. End of the rhymes, we promise.
Gather your team and come to Office & Co.
A lot of us have been lone rangering for a while. We just made up the word ‘rangering’ but you get what we mean. We haven’t had the normal over-the-shoulder nods of approval from colleagues or bosses in months, and sometimes that simple gesture is all we need to feel like we’re on the right track. So why not come to Office & Co.
Our boardrooms are sleek, our coffee strong and the opportunities for collaboration and head nodding abound. Explore our functional, affordable office spaces in Cape Town and Joburg today.
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